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Covid-19: Hundreds register at pop-up blood plasma donor site.

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  • Coronavirus pandemic
image captionMore than 120 people booked in to become plasma donors in the first two weeks of the Ashford pop-up centre

A blood plasma scheme in which former Covid patients donate samples which may help others fight the virus has been backed by hundreds of people in Kent.

Blood plasma, particularly from men who have had a severe bout of the disease, contains antibodies that may be able to protect others.

A pop-up plasma-donation centre, set up in Ashford at the end of December, has already received around 100 samples.

And more than 1,000 people in the area have registered an interest.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) says a constant supply of blood plasma will be needed for the trials and also - if they are successful - as stock to treat patients.

It is co-ordinating what it says is the world's largest randomised clinical trial of convalescent plasma.

image copyrightNHSBT
image captionThe pop-up is in the County Square shopping centre in Ashford

NHSBT uses samples from people who have had severe bouts of Covid and are therefore likely to have sufficient antibodies to help other patients fight the disease.

Hundreds of patients with Covid have already received the transfusions as part of the trials.

Ashford's County Square shopping centre is one of 14 pop-up sites.

Men aged over 35 tend to have the most antibodies, and researchers are particularly keen for volunteers among the black, Asian and minority-ethnic (Bame) community, who appear to be at disproportionate risk from the disease.

A spokeswoman for NHSBT said the initial response since Kent's only donation centre opened less than two weeks ago had been encouraging, but she called for more donors to come forward.

How to donate

  • Check suitability and register online
  • Attend appointment
  • Blood is taken and the plasma extracted before the red blood cells are reinjected into the donor
  • Total attendance time is about 75 minutes

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  • What is blood plasma and how does it treat Covid-19?

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